Scientific integrity

Integrität in der Forschung

Excellent science can only thrive based on trust, which in turn depends on scientific integrity. ETH Zurich therefore places great importance on this value. Its conception at ETH Zurich is described in detail in the DownloadIntegrity Guidelines (PDF, 1.2 MB) and is continuously developed to match the needs of the scientific community.

The Trusted Intermediaries offer counseling and mediation in concrete situations where research integrity is at stake.

The Commission for Good Scientific Practice develops the general foundations of research integrity at ETH Zurich. It collaborates closely with the departments and also is an interface to society.

Scientific knowledge strives to be reliable. Researchers as well as industry and society build on it. In order to justify this trust, scientific knowledge must be produced according to acknowledged standards and in a transparent manner. Scientific collaboration can only succeed when nobody acts at the expense of others.  

Scientific integrity is an attitude that responds to these goals. It manifests itself in daily work as much as in encounters and collaboration and is decisive for the long-term success of science. Some of its integral traits are transparency, fairness, and the ability to take criticism. Successfully practiced integrity is referred to as good scientific practice.

Institutional guidelines can provide orientation and confidence on the topics of integrity and good scientific practice. However, since these are social norms, which naturally keep changing and often do so rapidly in the context of research, guidelines must be continuously reflected and adjusted.

Here are some specific practical goals that are commonly taken to reflect scientific integrity:

  • Making scientific sources transparent and avoiding plagiarism
  • Adherence to clear and fair rules in determining authorship
  • Dealing with research data responsibly
  • Publishing of results and opennes to scientific exchange and replication
  • Correct declaration of affiliation(s) in publications
  • Being a good supervisor for junior scientists
  • Adherence to human rights and fairness in international cooperations
  • Readiness to act as a reviewer
  • Declaring conflicts of interest

The details of ETH Zurich's policy on research integrity as well as all legal aspects of the topic are laid down in the following documents:

Latest News (as of May 2021)

  • Total revision triggered by the developments of the last 10 years and taking into account the new Code of Conduct for Scientific Integrity of the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences.
  • The GWP Commission is responsible for the content of the draft revision of the guidelines.
  • Possibilities for participation:

 Consultation procedure by the Executive Board (see below)

  • Presumed timetable:

By June 2021: Preparation of a consultation version by the GWP Commission
• June 2021: Launch of internal consultation by the school management
Summer 2021: internal consultation in the departments and university bodies
Autumn / winter 2021: consolidation of consultation results
Winter 2021/22: entry into force of the revised guidelines

  • Total revision triggered by the developments of the last 10 years, taking into account the results of the current review by the ETH Board and the new Code of Conduct for Scientific Integrity of the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences.
  • The EAW team at the VPF is responsible for coordinating the revision.
  • Possibilities for participation

Consultation procedure by the Executive Board
Contributions to Team EAW

  • Foreseen procedure

Discussion on the basic structure of the procedure (e.g. the inclusion of the planned national competence centre for scientific integrity or other external bodies) by the GWP Commission, Legal Service, Team EAW;
Considering the results of review of the preliminary evaluation on scientific misconduct by the ETH Board
Preparation of a draft text of a revised version of the Procedure to address allegations of research misconduct by the Team EAW
Statements by external bodies / persons (e.g. reviewers of the ETH Board review, Ombudsman for Science of the DFG, former members of ETH investigation commissions, "integrity commissioners" from the ETH Domain)
Consolidation of the results of the informal internal and external statements
Launch of the formal internal consultation by the Executive Board
ETH-internal formal consultation process
Consolidation of the consultation results
Entry into force of the rules of procedure by the Executive Board


  • In May 2021, the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences (a+) published the new Code of Conduct for Research Integrity, which replaces the "Principles and Procedures in the Field of Scientific Integrity" from 2008.
  • The new code on scientific integrity is based on the revised European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity of the All European Academies (ALLEA) from 2017 external page and aims to create common standards in Switzerland.
  • Significance of the Code for ETH Zurich

• The Code forms a basis for the regulations and guidelines of the institutions and funding organisations on scientific integrity. The Code has already been considered in the total revision of the Guidelines for Integrity (RSETHZ 414).
• The Code is not a basis for action for researchers and is not legally binding.
• The Code is not a basis for action for researchers. The Guidelines for Integrity (RSETHZ 414) and the Procedure to address allegations of research misconduct (RSETHZ 415) remain the relevant documents for researchers at ETH Zurich.

  • At the request of ETH Zurich, the ETH Board is currently conducting a review of the preliminary evaluation on scientific misconduct procedure according to RSETHZ 415. The result of this review will be publicly available.
  • Number of ongoing research misconduct proceedings: 1
  • Number of completed research misconduct cases since 2015: 3
  • Types of misconduct investigated:

Data manipulation

JavaScript has been disabled in your browser